PixelRange LED technology lights Pippin
Tuesday, 27 March 2012
PixelRange LED technology lights PippinThe concept was to place the show inside a video game (photo © Ken Billington)
UK - For the new production of Pippin at the Menier Chocolate Factory, the concept was to place the show inside a video game. As you walk towards the theatre entrance, the character Pippin is playing a video game - then during the opening number, Pippin gets sucked into the game that is then played onstage.

Lighting designer Ken Billington reports, "For the production, Tim Bird created a very neutral set with many levels and then with his team from Knifedge created visuals that were projected on all the surfaces requiring fast moving changes like a video game. This of course impacted the lighting in that it needed to change quickly and drastically with intensity and colour. With a very low ceiling (4m) and limited electricity - LED fixtures became almost essential to make the concept work. To give me the bang of LED I chose the PixelRange QPar 10°, 20° asymmetrical and 30° and SmartLine4 20°. The products worked perfectly in fulfilling my lighting concept.

"The SmartLine4 was used as sidelight hanging vertically in full view of the audience. They gave a blast of low sidelight and during certain sequences we did individual control of the 24 LEDs. One example, as the audience entered the space they walked through a sensor at the door. This triggered the sound and lighting consoles. The sound of a short circuit would go through the theatre and the SmatLine4's would do a pre-programmed chase of the individual LEDs giving a very high-tech feel.

"The QPar was used as pipe ends (side light) wash. With the low ceiling a wash consisted of 3 QPar fixtures one 10° focused far, one 20° asymmetrical (with the beam vertical) focused to centre stage and one 30° focused near. This gave even coverage and gave me all the necessary colour and effects available with this fixture."

He concludes: "I was most impressed with the light output, beam shaping and the lack of random spill that usually happens with LED fixtures. The individual lens on each LED wash fixture has finally made the LED theatre friendly. In that you can keep the light off the scenery and out of the audience eyes and have only the area where it is focused lit."

(Jim Evans)

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